George Earviak 2010-11-07
George Earviak Jr
Teddy Earviak

Bodies of man, 2 youngsters, found in pond near Newtok

By LISA DEMER,, Published: November 7th, 2010

Two children and a relative from the village of Newtok were found dead Sunday afternoon in apparent drownings after their snowmachine went into a pond, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Troopers were alerted Saturday that George Earviak Sr., 67, George Earviak Jr., 10, and Teddy Earviak, 8, were missing. The relationship between the three wasn't immediately clear.

They had left Friday afternoon on a single snowmachine to set blackfish traps in lakes about 12 miles north of Newtok. The Western Alaska village is on the Ninglick River about 94 miles west-northwest of Bethel.

When they hadn't returned by 9 a.m. Saturday, family members called troopers. Searchers left from Newtok on snowmobiles and troopers and others searched by air. A military C-130 also flew over the area looking for the three.

Fresh snow covered the snowmachine tracks; ice conditions on lakes and rivers in the area weren't yet safe for travel, troopers said.

Searchers failed to find them Saturday and began looking again on Sunday morning. Around 12:30 p.m., ground searchers spotted Earviak's snowmachine in a pond near the local airport. Searchers dragged the pond and recovered the bodies of the children and Earviak.

Trooper spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said it appears the three drowned, since their bodies were recovered from water, but until autopsies are done, the cause of death won't be known.

The bodies were sent to the state medical examiner in Anchorage.

Troopers say alcohol does not appear to have been a factor.